Capital Voices: 'Outside this, I'm a "normal" mother, daughter, sister, friend'
by Bruce Deachman
In anticipation of Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations, the Citizen’s Bruce Deachman has been out in search of Ottawans — 150 of them — to learn their stories of life and death, hope and love, obsession and fear. From Feb. 2 until Canada Day, we’ll share one person’s story every day.
“The freedom to be who you are. That’s why I’m here today. I’m part of the NCLP — National Capital Leather Pride. It’s all about just expressing yourself. Whether it’s fetish or who you love or what you want to do in life. This is about the freedom to do what you want.
“This is not so much a fetish for me as it is … like, I don’t pretend I’m a pony. Some people do, they can get into that head space of a pony. But this, to me, is more of an exhibitionist side. I’m an attention-seeker. Positive attention. Just to show that you can come out and have and do whatever you want. Just the happiness of it, and the happiness it brings people if you see them and they watch you walking around. It’s a lot of smiles, a lot of applause. It’s just for me to tell people, ‘It’s OK to do whatever you want. Don’t hurt anybody. Be kind, and just have fun with your life, because it’s too short.’
“I’ve been in the fetish community for about 25 years, Sexapalooza and the Pride parades. Private parties, too, of course. Or if people invite me to a benefit or something like that, then I’ll be there.
“I like the shock value it has for the vanilla people, the ones who aren’t in to any kind of BDSM or fetishes. We just call them vanilla. It’s new people just starting out; they haven’t tested all the flavours. When they see me, they ask a lot of questions, and it’s almost always positive, which is really nice. Outside this, I’m a ‘normal’ mother, daughter, sister, friend. I work hard, and family is really important.
“Things have absolutely changed. I grew up with a friend who was gay, and he was so ashamed of it back then — that was a long time ago. He died about 20 years ago, of AIDS. And now today, look at it. Look at all the people here. He would never have done this 25 years ago. It was always hidden. So there definitely is a big change. So I think about him when I do this, because I only wish that he could be here now, to be able to express himself instead of feeling ashamed.“